2015 Iowa Blues Challenge Preliminaries

2015 IABC logo

Fairfield Solo/Duo Preliminary

Saturday, April 4th – Best Western

Congratulations to Tina & Brandon, who advance to the Iowa Blues Challenge Solo/Duo Finals

Tina & Brandon

 Tina and BrandonPassionate partners in love and rhyme, Tina and Brandon have become quite a bluesified force to be reckoned with.  Married since January of 2005 and veterans of their popular past bands Lady Blue and Bella Soul, these true soulmates are entering a whole new era of life and musicmaking in 2015.  They have enjoyed their numerous appearances on blues stages big and small, including their recent Botanical Blues series finale show, and consider themselves blessed to be able to share such a busy, diverse, challenging, exciting, and fulfilling melodic journey together.  Celebrating one lovely decade of performing, with more brand new music coming this year, Tina and Brandon continue to be forever grateful for their growing lovable tribe of fans.  For them, it is all about inspiration, authenticity, and the thrill of a sweet blues groove.  If this is you, then Tina and Brandon are your kindred spirits indeed.

Juliana Logan

 Juliana LoganJuliana Logan is a sixteen year old from Davenport Iowa. She has studied music at the River Music Experience for approximately four years. There she has participated in: guitar lessons, Rock Camp, open mic nights, blues jams and Winter Blues Camp. She has performed for local charities, the Mayor, River Roots Live, and this year was selected as the 2015 Winter Blues All Stars lead vocalist and has had the privilege to open for Anthony Gomes. She is an aspiring singer/songwriter who hopes to study music through college and to be able to have a profession in the music industry. She draws her inspiration from the likes of Etta James, Aretha Franklin, Nina Simone, Alicia Keys and Adele.

 

Victoria Neece

Victoria NeeceSince Victoria could talk, she has been singing. She has an incredible passion for entertaining others with her voice. She has been singing onstage since she has been four years old. Her 10th birthday will be April 6, 2015. When she was four years old she also started piano lessons, which she continues today. Two years ago she started guitar lessons. Victoria’s family knows her as a constant radio. Everywhere Victoria goes, she is singing. The volume is never shut off. She is just not herself unless music is coming from her. Singing makes her happy as well as her family. Victoria also participated in Rock Camp when she was 8 and 9 years old. When she was eight, Ellis Kell selected her to be a vocalist in the Jam Fest. This past Christmas, she participated in Blues Camp and was selected for the 2015 All Stars Blues Band, in which she is one of their lead vocalists. In addition to music, Victoria also enjoys theater. She is very active at the Davenport Junior Theater. Currently, she is practicing for their musical “Rumpelstiltskin” which is showing in May. In addition to music and theater, Victoria is three months from earning her Black Belt in karate. She also loves to ice skate. In her free time, you will see her figure skating during open skate times or during her lesson at River’s Edge in Davenport, Iowa.

 

Des Moines Solo/Duo Preliminary

Thursday, April 9th @ 8 pm – Zimm’s Food & Spirits
$8 admission  $2 discount for current Iowa Blues Society members with card

Congratulations to the Eastside Brothers, who advance to the Iowa Blues Challenge Solo/Duo Finals

Eastside Brothers

Eastside BrothersAaron Earl Short and Rob Short are Eastside Brothers. Performing together for over 20 years has tightened their musical brotherhood. They have grown up playing music together and always knew it was an important part of their lives. They never have committed to one genre, but both grew up with an appreciation of the blues and formed this project to pay homage. They began as the band Erosion but started performing steadily in the Creek Dwellers, a southern rock blues band, through 2010. Both have established their own music careers. Aaron is currently performing in The High Crest and Rob performs with Dust Radio. Both are admired and respected guitar players. Rob specializes in shredding his electric guitar with soul and feeling while Aaron crafts his words with the same foundation. This duo has a natural grit and dedication to their music that really leaves you stunned by the talent they possess.

Bodley & Cantrell

Bodley and CantrellDynamic singer Jodi Bodley left her native Colorado barely out of school and spent several of her earlier years on the road as a professional performer. After settling in Des Moines, her powerful, trademark voice has become near legendary and places her in an elite group of great blues singers from the area. Jodi can sing it lowdown and soulful, or light it up with that big voice. She’s as good as it gets anywhere.

Dewey Cantrell is a blues guitarist, singer and songwriter from Des Moines. He first picked up a guitar when he was 13 years old, and has never put it down for too long since. Playing acoustic or electric, fingerpicking the blues, or wielding a slide, he just simply loves playing the guitar, and getting to share with people who love blues music.

Jodi and Dewey first met in 1999 at a local jam, founded The Blues Bureau Band, and now, 16 years later, are one of the area’s most enduring musical collaborations. Their longtime friendship and mutual passion for music has created an onstage chemistry that’s obvious to all. Collectively their music has put them on the bill with such notables as Blues Traveler, Shemekia Copeland, Sonny Rhodes and Kelly Hunt, and played events such as The Mississippi Valley Blues Festival, Bowlful of Blues, and Nightfall on The River. The duo of Bodley and Cantrell truly enjoy making music together and hope to keep audiences smiling and coming back.

“Freight Train” Frank Strong

Freight Train Frank StrongFrank has been performing Blues music for many years in a wide variety of venues. Frank plays many traditional Blues songs and has written some as well. Frank has performed at the Iowa State Fair, the Iowa State Historical Building, the Smithsonian Museum in Washington DC and at schools, festivals and other events across the state of Iowa.

Frank plays with many other Blues performers as he facilitates the annual Botanical Blues series at the Des Moines Botanical Gardens. Frank is also an instructor in the Blues in the Schools musical enrichment program sponsored by CIBS.

 

 

Des Moines Band Preliminary

Sunday, April 12th @ 7 pm – Zimm’s Food & Spirits
$8 admission  $2 discount for current Iowa Blues Society members with card

Congratulations to The Mother Ship Blues Band, who advance to the Iowa Blues Challenge Band Finals

The Mother Ship Blues Band

Mother Ship Blues BandOriginally formed in Des Moines, Iowa as Jeff Banks Band in 2000, The Mother Ship Blues Band is truly a band of brothers. With Jeff Banks and James Biehn on vocals and guitars, Justin Appel on vocals and keyboards, Jon Locker on bass and Scott Dawson on vocals and drums, rest assured this is some funky and soulful blues, right here.

Enough said… let the music speak for itself!

Scotty & the Wingtips

Scotty and the WingtipsScotty & the Wingtips was formed in 1989 to host a jam session in downtown Des Moines and have been playing together ever since. The rhythm section of Scotty Hartung (founder/drums), Mike Tyler (guitar/vocals) and Ernie Terrell (bass/vocals) have been there since Day One and make the solid foundation which really makes the band groove. Johnny Luna (trumpet/vocals/misc) and Dave Jenks (sax/vocals/guitar) make up that great horn section that really enhances any blues and Jeff Daniels (Hammond B3/electric piano) with that big Leslie sound rounds out the band.

The Wingtips have played all over at all kinds of events, opening for Junior Wells, Lonnie Brooks and Eddy Clearwater, to name a few. These guys have a chemistry that just makes you want to bop! Getting along on and off the stage contributes to the longevity of this band. With big influences of SRV, Colin James, Louis Jordan, Duane Allman, Danny Gatton and many more, the swinging energy of the Wingtips just makes you want to dance and smile and that’s a good thing!

Vinyl Vagabonds

Vinyl VagabondsThe Vinyl Vagabonds are a talented and upbeat Blues, R&B, and Roots Rock band based in Ames, Iowa. Their zeal for these genres of music is evidenced by the abundance of spirit in their stage presentation and positive chemistry among band members.   With all good-time music and an obvious great time going down on the stage, the Vinyl Vagabonds’ connection with audiences is spontaneous, immediate, and enduring.

The ace-in-the-hole for V.V. is singer Mook Bascomb. Her classic alto voice is one to fall in love with over and over again, delivering both lead and harmony backing vocals with authenticity and joy. Co-lead singer Jeff Hart’s love of music and seemingly limitless energy flows forth in both his vocal performance and harmonica playing. Guitarist Kent Johnson not only drives the band with his funk-oriented rhythms and stark Blues-Rock leads, his is the crucial third voice in the three-part vocal harmonies that accentuate much of V.V.’s song list. The Vinyl Vagabonds can boast a very groovy rhythm section as well. Bassist David Ingham and drummer Todd Cumming keep it rocking steady for all the high steppers and hip shakers that can’t help but get out on the dance floor. Rounding out their extremely bluesy and soulful sound is ultra-utility player Don Brown on saxophones, flute, tambourine, and backup vocals.

The Vinyl Vagabonds’ performance repertoire is an absolute breath of fresh air for audiences that crave a get-down-and-boogie sound to lift them out of the rut of pop cover rock that presently pervades the club live music scene. This band is smiling throughout the night because they know what surprises lie in store. What they’ve got is infectious and it’s never long before the whole venue is smiling with them.

Here’s hoping the V.V. party comes your way soon!

 

Quad Cities Solo/Duo & Band Preliminary

Congratulations to the Zach Harris Band, who advances to the Iowa Blues Challenge Band Finals

Congratulations to the Dan Peart, who advances to the Iowa Blues Challenge Solo/Duo Finals

Sunday, April 26th @ 5 pm – River Music Experience
$10 admission  $2 discount for current Iowa Blues Society members with card

The Myers Brothers

Myers BrothersThe Myers Brothers are lifelong residents of Davenport, Iowa. Born and raised on the Mississippi and listening to good blues and performing at the Mississippi Valley Blues Festival and River Roots Live, Davenport, as well as multiple festivals, private parties and events.

Kellen Myers is the oldest brother, at 17 years old, a senior at Davenport Central High School where he is an an honor student, in National Honor Society and Student Council. He has played the piano since age 2 and started composing his own music at a very young age, winning his first national composition contest at age 5. He has since won several state titles and honorable mentions as well as local composing awards. He has played piano, guitar, harmonica, bass, organ, percussion, and sings in addition to his composing. Kellen has been actively involved with high school music in choir, band, orchestra, show choir pit band, jazz band and recently won best jazz soloist at All State Jazz Band.  Kellen plans to study music and music composition at Augustana College, Rock Island, IL next fall.

Logan Myers is the younger of the brothers at age 14. He has played drums since age 3. He has been active in school music in choir and band and enjoys playing music with his brother. When he is not active in school or gigging, Logan travels and plays baseball for his high school and for the Quad Cities Hitmen Elite 14U. He had the opportunity to pitch at the Elite 32 in Disney World Orlando last summer and continues to work hard as a stand out on his teams.

The Myers Brothers are currently working on their next CD project- due to release in 2016.

Dan Peart

Dan PeartDan Peart, from Clinton Iowa, is a self-taught musician, a singer/songwriter who is a lifetime member of the Mississippi Valley Blues Society and a two-time finalist in the Iowa Solo/Duo Blues Challenge. For more information about Dan Peart, visit www.danpeartmusic.com.

 

 

 

Rowdy Rooster

Rowdy RoosterGuitarist, Songwriter and Performer Billylee Janey has been compared to such greats as Clapton, Beck, and Hendrix. Even though these guitar heroes have been an inspiration to him, Billylee’s own soulful and passionate love for music clearly and creatively sets him apart, giving him his own unique style and personality. Billylee picked up his first guitar, a German Framus, at an early age. it was during the “British Invasion” that he was taking his first steps in another direction; a direction that would lead him down paths into the music that would shape his future – the blues, jazz and rock. Billylee recorded his first record in 1972 and another in 1973 which included “Pontiac Blues” by Sonny Boy Williamson. In 1975 he recorded a full scale album titled “No Rest for the Wicked” with his blues-rock trio, Truth ‘N Janey. “No Rest for the Wicked” has achieved near cult status internationally, and has been recognized in the book by Martin Popoff, “The Collector’s Guide to Heavy Metal Volume I: The Seventies.” Recently, Janey received nominations by the Iowa Rock and Roll and Blues Halls of Fame. Also, in 2000, Billylee received a Grammy entry mention. Billylee Janey has played B B King’s in Memphis, Buddy Guy’s Legends during the Chicago Blues Fest and the Mississippi Valley Blues Fest. Billylee Janey has worked over 600 major shows in the US and Canada.

Other accomplishments; Head Flyman for David Copperfield, where Janey incorporated guitar stunts and tricks in his live show. Janey worked in theaters for 15 years working on productions such as Chorus Line and 42nd St. he also worked the ABC Network’s farm crisis with the Donahue Show and over 600 arena shows for jazz, blues and pop rock including Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughn and George Thorogood. Janey was a part of production on the feature film “Miles From Home” starring Richard Gere. Janey played on stage with Buddy Guy, Little Ed and was the backing band for Bo Diddley shows in 2000. Today, Billylee continues to test the waters with his solo career and his newest release “Tear It Down” – on the Electric Mud label. While he is staying busy these days with performances, recordings and many a late night writing and composing, Billylee hasn’t forgotten what this is all about for him. “I want to share with people what I feel in my heart, continue to give something new to the people who support live music and challenge myself.”   Billylee has spent many years teaching guitar at West Music.

Freddy Jones has been playing blues harmonica sine 1967. Musicians Freddy has played with include: Son Seals, Eddy “The Chief” Clearwater, Sonny Rhodes, Eddie Kirkland, Johnny Rawls, Little Ed & Blues Imperials and Bo Diddley.

Concreteslim & the Sidewalks

Concreteslim and the SidewalksConcreteslim & the Sidewalks drive outside the lines of traditional blues with blues shaped by a lifetime of bumps and bruises into an original sound that draws traditional fans and younger audiences driven by the rhythm.

William Dale Rigsby became Concreteslim on a blues journey that ran coast to coast and then some before arriving back in his hometown in middle America on the Mississippi River. Slim has written and performed as long as he can remember, beginning in his Army years tending a Florida missile silo. The songwriters folk and jazz bent drove a duo that performed for years in Tucson, Arizona, and later his solo act in southern California.

“My songs are days, weeks and chapters of my life, the ones where everything went right and the ones where everything went wrong.”

“Bad Day,” “Apologize” and “Two Holes” are some of the stories that Concreteslim transforms into songs that get listeners moving and thinking. Find the songs on Reverbnation, where 10,000 fans have pushed Slim to the top of the Reverbnation local charts.

Bassist Tim Rockstroh anchors the Sidewalks. “He believes in me and is willing to put in the extra work to present original music, not just covers. He’s more than just a bass player. He drives the sound.”

Drummer Danny Tapp became a Sidewalk member after a year of touring the west coast as part of a songwriting duo. Originally from the Missouri Ozarks, Tapp hooked up with Slim in 2014 and drove the band’s latest live recordings from John Taylor’s Ca’ d’Zan studio.

Down the Drain

Down the DrainDown the Drain has been together for four years, performing blues, rock, country, and funk in small towns surrounding the Quad City area. The original power trio of Levi Craft, Jim Drain, and Cooper Schou would often have Sarah Hanson sit in on gigs, but this is the first all four have worked together as a full musical unit. All four of the musicians originally met at RME programs when they were twelve and thirteen years old.

Levi Craft, guitar and vocals, has playing guitar and singing for five years now. Levi and Sarah competed in the Youth Showcase Act last year at the Blues Challenge in Memphis. Levi has been in school choir and musicals, and previously played bass in Animilia. Levi has been involved in the RME’s Rock Camp and Winter Blues, and was a member of the Winter Blues All-stars. His musical influences include Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, and Eddie Van Halen.

Jim Drain, bass, is a senior at Moline High School. Jim has been playing the electric bass guitar and the double bass since fifth grade. Jim plays in the Moline High School Orchestra, jazz band, and pep band. Jim’s activities outside of school include the River Music Experience’s Rock Camp and Winter Blues All-Stars, and he also plays for local group Culture Coup, which focuses on funk/rock/reggae. Jim’s bass playing is influenced The Beatles, Red Hot Chili Peppers, reggae, and funk music.

Sarah Hanson, vocalist, developed an interest in all forms of vocal music as soon as she realized she could manipulate the sound of her voice. She began singing in school and has since performed in various locations throughout the Quad Cities. Levi, a classmate, encouraged her to attend a blues workshop at the River Music Experience, where she met Jim and Cooper and began a great adventure with the Winter Blues All-Stars. She has been singing the blues ever since. She is influenced by the vocal stylings of Etta James, Shemekia Copeland, and Stevie Ray Vaughn.

Cooper Schou, drummer, is a junior at Pleasant Valley High School where he is in the marching band, Wind Symphony, and two jazz bands. He has been playing drums for five years after starting on piano, and has been a part of both the RME’s Rock Camp and Winter Blues programs, where he performed with the Winter Blues All-Stars for two years. Cooper has also been the drummer for the Sin City Orchestra for the past year and one-half. His influences include Snarky Puppy, Steve Gadd, and Buddy Rich.

The Zach Harris Band

The Zach Harris BandThe Zach Harris Band is a blues-rock group from Davenport, Iowa, comprised of 4 members: Randy Leasman on bass, Nick Vazquez on keyboard, Jamie Hopkins on Drums, and Zach Harris on guitar and vocals. They have been together since early 2014. During that time they have developed their sound as a band, and worked hard to develop a reputation as a band that plays soulful blues with conviction. Their sound is heavily influenced by Chicago and Texas blues, as well as old school Mississippi Delta Blues. Each member of the band brings to the table his own unique skill set and influences. With such a collective wide range of influences, The Zach Harris Band is a melting pot of America’s finest genre.

Jamie Hopkins has been focused on drums and music since his first paying gig at 14 on his dad’s borrowed drums. Logging over 27 years of live performance Jamie has been a member of the EZ Money Band, Crusin’, The Andrew Landers Project, The Ernie Peniston Band (Iowa Blues Hall of Fame), the Curtis Hawkins Band (featuring Manuel Lopez III) and the Candymakers. He can be heard on 2013’s Keep Workin’ the Blues (Curtis Hawkins Band) and 2014’s Rediculicious (Candymakers). A career highlight included accompanying the legendary Westbrook Singers at the 2014 Mississippi Valley Blues Fest. Jamie also works for Vintage Sound 93.1FM the largest radio signal in the market playing blues in rotation or by request.

Nick and Randy, both being members of The Candymakers, are no strangers to the Iowa Blues Challenge. The Candymakers participated and won the 2011 Iowa Blues Challenge, eventually going on to reach the semi-finals in both the International Blues Challenge, and The Kings of Beale Street Competition. Since then The Candymakers have released two full length records, and played all throughout the Midwest. Nick got his start playing drums in 5th grade band. He moved onto guitar in high school and then began playing piano at age 20. His biggest influences are Dr. John and Billy Preston. Nick also received his B.A. In music from St. Ambrose University. Nick is also a piano teacher at River Music Experience in Davenport.

Zach first took an interest in music at a young age. The sounds of the electric guitar, namely when expressed by the hands of Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan, captured his attention. By saving money from odd jobs and chores, Zach purchased his first guitar at the age of 14. As a self taught musician, he learned to hone his craft as a teenager by playing along with his favorite recordings. His influences range from BB, Albert and Freddie King, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimi Hendrix, Derek Trucks, Muddy Waters, Eric Clapton, Tomo Fujita, Greg Koch, Philip Sayce, Eric Gales, Sean Costello and Steve Gaines.

 

Newton Band Preliminary

Congratulations to Wooden Nickel Lottery, who advance to the Iowa Blues Challenge Band Finals

Sunday, April 26th @ 4 pm – Izaak Walton League
$8 admission  $3 discount for current Iowa Blues Society members with card

Diva & the Deacons featuring Tina & Brandon

Diva and the DeaconsDiva and the Deacons is a musical tribe of true blues lovers eager to blow your mind with energetic renditions of first class blues tunes from all the colors of the blues rainbow.  Under the leadership of the dynamic and soulful lovebird duo, Tina and Brandon, every show by this great group is one heavenly blues celebration.

Already honored at the tender age of 50 with the terms “legend” and “icon”, the award winning vocals of Tina Haase Findlay have made their mark throughout the blues realm as well as in jazz, rock, soul, gospel, commercial jingles, and musical theatre.  During her 30-plus year professional career, she has opened for and/or shared the stage with such luminaries as Bruce Katz, Robert Cray, Renee Austin, Damon Fowler, Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, Tea Leaf Green, Eddie Money, Trampled Underfoot, the recent Grammy Award winning Mike Farris, and many more.  A two time Iowa Blues Challenge finalist with The Groove Merchants and Bella Soul, Tina humbly considers herself creatively wealthy and effervescently youthful due to the constant inspiration of all her talented friends way too numerous to name from the regional and local music scenes that have graciously indulged her hobby of being a “collaboration junkie”!

Standing right beside the diva for most of those thrilling guest moments, Brandon Findlay has dove into the deepest end in tribute to his greatest bass inspirations, the late great Allen Woody of Gov’t Mule fame, as well as one whom he is honored to call friend, mentor, and “homeboy”, the incomparable Scot Sutherland.  A previous Blues Challenge finalist with Bella Soul, Brandon was the lead guitarist of Lady Blue and Bella Soul, and has written, co-written, and/or arranged many of the hits in those bands’ catalogs.  In addition, he is an accomplished civic arts and culture advocate, and a freelance music journalist who has had the pleasure of interviewing some of his personal music heroes, including Marc Ford, Ray Manzarek of The Doors, Derek Trucks, and the one the Findlays call ‘Jesus on the guitar’, Warren Haynes of Gov’t Mule.

Joining Tina and Brandon for this blues adventure are two true deacons, onstage and off, Kai Utterback on guitar and Wade Elder on drums, Kai has been a star student from the mentoring school of the highly renowned guitar maestro James Biehn, and brings an enormous amount of zip and zest to his playing that is turning more and more heads each time he hits the spotlight.  Musically well beyond his young biological age, Kai is a talented singer and songwriter in his own right, and hopes to launch his own band project later this year.  Wade is quite simply a one man band, and three Wade’s would make an awesome power trio since he can handle guitar, bass, and drums with more snap, crackle, and pop than the most jumbo rice krispie box.  Showcasing his considerable drum magic in this setting, Wade’s most recent project was a band called the Exes and Ohs with many performance highlights including a super successful Vaudeville Mews concert and hanging out with upcoming international soul band Vintage Trouble.  These two lovable bachelors are both rising stars in the blues realm, and Tina and Brandon are blessed to present them for you to add to your list of favorite players and favorite people.

DIVA is an acronym meaning Divine Inspiration Victorious Attitude, and Deacon is a word that means one who serves.  So Tina, Brandon, Kai, and Wade consider their Deacon mission to be serving up a feast of true DIVA-style blues for your body, mind, and soul.

Good Time Paradigm

Good Time ParadigmGood Time Paradigm is a five piece blues band based out of Pella, Iowa. Although this particular line-up has only recently assembled, all of the members have some musical history with at least one of the other members. Membership consists of Chris Hopkins on lead vocal and guitar, Barbara Boertje DeVries on keyboards/saxophone, Frank Zemanek on guitar, Shawn Knox on bass guitar, and Kevin Lyman on drums. I’ll not incriminate anyone with their individual years of experience, but the total exceeds 130 years.

The band members’ common denominator is Chris Hopkins. Chris has performed with all the other members in various forms dating as far back as the early eighties. Chris and Barbara were music majors at Central College in Pella, both graduating in 1982. Barbara, with a keyboard performance degree and Chris in music education. Barbara and Chris performed together in the Central College Jazz Band for 4 years, Barbara as principle alto saxophone, and Chris alternated between guitar and bass.

Chris and Frank started playing together in the early Nineties and have been in multiple projects intermittently ever since. Frank grew up in southern California and moved to Pella in the mid Eighties and immediately started playing in the local scene. Frank and Chris’ styles complement one another and they genuinely enjoy working together.

Shawn first came to Chris’ attention while Shawn’s band at the time was recording at Chris’ studio. It was the first time the young band had recorded and after an entire two day session had transpired, Chris couldn’t help but notice that Shawn hadn’t blown a single take. A year later, Chris needed a bass player and caught Shawn between projects and they’ve played together ever since.

Kevin grew up in the Cedar Rapids area and played in some of the local bands before relocating to the Pella area in the mid Nineties. Kevin and Chris used to be neighbors, living about two doors away from one another. In 2002, Chris was trying to put a band together as a side project and remembered hearing a drummer practicing down the street, so he boldly knocked on the door and introduced himself. They hit it off, both musically and personally. Kevin and Chris have done several band projects together and the last 3 have included Shawn.

As individuals, our music backgrounds are somewhat diverse, but this very element brings the band an eclectic potential that we are only starting to tap. The” jazz meets blues meets R’n’R” fusion of styles is a path that Good Time Paradigm is eager to travel and I hope you’ll come for the ride!

Wooden Nickel Lottery

Wooden Nickel LotteryWooden Nickel Lottery came together in 2013 as a result of a chance meeting and resulted in an Eastern Iowa blues/rock band with the power, chops and soul to satisfy fans of rock/blues.   Fronted by Rick Gallo’s energetic and soulful vocals, this group moves the crowd with a mix of original blues/rock as well as classic and contemporary blues covers.      With influences such as Joe Bonamassa, Paul Gilbert and Eric Johnson, guitarist and band songwriter Rich Toomsen keeps it lively with a steady stream of guitar licks and musical musings.    Jess Toomsen brings her special flavor of solid low end to the mix on the bass.   Iowa Blues Challenge veteran Delayne Stallman rounds out the group on drums (2003 winner with “Magic Mike and the Blue Side”).    The group’s sonic influences include Joe Bonamassa and Johnny Lang, but draw on the grooves of funk rock with the heart of a true blues jam band.

 

The winners of each Preliminary round will advance to the Iowa Blues Challenge Finals on Saturday, May 16th at the Downtown Des Moines Marriott.

Thanks to the sponsors of the Iowa Blues Challenge:  Budweiser, Summit Brewing, Cityview, Junior’s Motel, Rieman Music, River Music Experience, Zimm’s Food & Spirits, Southeast Iowa Blues Society, South Skunk Blues Society, Mississippi Valley Blues Society & Central Iowa Blues Society.